Not Twelfth Night

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OK so apart from the title link this isn’t Shakespeare related, but this is something which has been bugging me and putting it down here gives me something to link to.

Today is not the 12th Day of Christmas. Today is the 12th of December. they are not the same thing.

I suspect this may be a corporate tool to sell more stuff before Christmas. But. We don’t have to allow the profit-seekers to pervert facts for their own agenda, do we? 

So the actual Twelve Days of Christmas are the twelve days starting on Christmas Day (25th December) and ending the day before Epiphany (6th January), the feast for the arrival of the Magi. All twelve of these days are Saints Days, so according to Church tradition fasting was not allowed. Twelve continuous days of feasting was naturally a cause for celebration!

In England, many traditions built up around the period – mostly with non-Christian undertones, such as choosing a Lord of Misrule or burning a Yule Log. Carols were sung – the first collection was published by Wynken de Worde in 1521. And yes, by the end of the 12 days monarchs were probably as sick of their families as the rest of us and a nice new play by William Shakespeare was exactly what they wanted…

But the important thing is all of this happens after Christmas, not before. Right now we are in Advent, the time of waiting before Christmas. So get your calendars out, light the candles, but give those poor Lords a break before they have to start dancing…

Two Turtledoves

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One the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,

Two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree

Turtledoves have been associated with lovers since biblical times – as the Song of Solomon goes “the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land”.

Turtle_Dove_from_the_Crossley_ID_Guide_Britain_and_Ireland

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